Thursday, December 30, 2010

L.L. Bean Spring 2011 Heritage Camp Moc

The Legacy Limited (Vintage Destroyed Heritage) Bean Camp Moc aka the LLVDH prototype is currently amidst a "lifestyle inclusion-premarketing gullibility test" in Alexandria, Virginia.
The brainchild of collaborists McNairy, Browne, Muytjens and Darnell Burgess, the LLVDH screams repurposed urban edge. “Why not redefine shit in a way that allows sweat shops in fourth world countries to knock out these babies for next to nothing” posits collaborative team spokesperson Burgess. “I mean come on, everybody else is doing it. Alls we did was take a few L.L. Bean favorites, loved by white people and that used to be made in the States; trash talk the product in a Kerouac-ish, loathsome way, sling it around for fifteen minutes by the proverbial knockers and BAM… you’ve got profit margins out the heinie.  Swathe it in vintage-y looking wrappings and an assload of adjectives/adverbs and run like a mo-fo.”
Burgess went on to share that the inspiration for the LLVDH was bi-sourced courtesy of McNairy’s collection of black and white photographs of stripped down and abandoned cars on the Cross Bronx Expressway as well as Browne’s and Muytjens’ love for the Lynyrd Skynyrd song The Ballad of Curtis Lowe. Andy Spade, for fifteen percent of expected gross sales vetted the inspiration—after Kate granted permission.
Burgess continues…“It’s easy to see the abandoned stripped down car thang in the shoe…no doubt. But the Curtis Lowe energy is much more ethereal and risky. Dig the lyrics—you’ll make the connection and I’m sure you’ll conclude that our collaboration was nothing short of hugely damn courageous. Curtis Lowe was a poor black man who had swollen feet due to gout and Type I diabetes.” A brooding McNairy finally added “It’s all about the adverbs and adjectives man.” Browne, through a spokesperson stated that the LLVDH was a "thinking man's shoe...I mean come on, think about it."
The LLVDH will be available March 13, 2011 in small batch, artisanal quantities. This handcrafted testament to high margin knock off reinterpretiveness carries an MSRP of $375.00. If you require any rationale for the price point, then you aren't cool enough to wear them. As a matter of fact, if you have to ask anything, you are stupid.

Onward. Adjectively Adverbial.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Lumber Jack Noir and Trad Miscellanea

Whew. After such an unintentionally provocative story the other day, it’s time for some superficial randomanalia. And all of that over a straw hat. Don’t get me wrong, I loved observing the back and forth between all of you and wouldn’t want to inhibit that in any way. But every now and then we need some mental floss—a cerebral palette cleansing dose of something. And here it is. Because trust me, I’ve got some heavy duty shitake coming in the next few weeks.
I’m prone to hygiene holidays when I’m alone and now that I’m wracked with what I call the respiratory crud, the no-shave, baseball cap option is even more appealing. But I did clean up the other day for a brief trip to the office and then to dinner—alone—again—naturally.
Winter white moleskins from Cordings. I bought three pairs of moleskins and two pairs of corduroys at Cordings in June of 1995 at about a zillion percent off. And they’ll probably last forever—bulletproof. Yep. So along with a pair of Ralph wool socks I channeled what I call Lumber Jack noir. Shut the ____ up. I don’t feel well and I have no one to play with this week so I don’t want to hear it.
No break. And I mean it. Flat front trousers with narrower legs demand a clean culmination in ankle land. No break. And these 1 5/8 inch cuffs were installed before my two inch epiphany.
But it’s two inch cuffs from here on out. Don’t argue this with me. Two inchers in all their Polo Ralph flat front beltless glory Surprise...I had them made in orange. You saw it here first. Right here.
So I left the office and headed over to my little French greasy spoon around the corner. What you see as you walk the quarter of a block is Christ Church. The Anglican installment best known for being George Washington’s church when he “came to town.” Young Bobby Lee worshiped there as well…after his mama, Ann Carter Lee had to decamp Albemarle County and Stratford because Light Horse Harry Lee pissed away all of the family dough. And Roosevelt accompanied Churchill to Christ Church during one of Winnie's visits. Seems logical. New Amsterdam WASP shuttles the uber Anglican Winnie over to the local Anglican house of (poised/restrained) worship.
I'm gonna do a story about Winston Churchill in caricature someday. But for now, here is a snap of two Winnie caricatures that live in my little hallway...awash in retail red.
So I took my usual place in the dining alone corner and began my comfort food journey. Painfully cold weather calls for Cassoulet but the Dover sole was whispering… “Order me again…order me again you lonely, yet intriguingly, in an impish sort of way, sexy man.”
Well damn, how do you deny such a siren call? Against my better judgement, I did. But not before I had a slice of middle of the road pâté. Good ole country pâté would worry me if it was anything but average. This stuff kinda appeals to a southern boy in a Boudin, liver pudding, hogshead cheese kind of a way.
I’ve never had a bad Cassoulet even though this one was a little bit dry and as always, too much.
 And I now offer this from a perspective of morphological admiration…not lust. The waitress must have been doing a ton of yoga. Stellar derrière…sublime. And I bet it would be just the same if I hadn't had two of those magical concoctions I so love. That would be ice-water.
Peach Melba, Café au lait and I’m done.
Till I get home. It’s a holiday week and I generally don’t drink hard spirits alone but I needed one of these see-throughs to see me through till bedtime. I was out of NyQuil. Shut up. 
 So let’s shift gears and revisit my Bobby from Boston gets. I’ve pretty much sorted out with you the two covert twill coats that I snagged. But looky at the perfecto navy blazer. Whether you bespeak something from Savile Row or buy sixty five dollar jackets from Bobby; there’s an immutable issue regarding fit that must be reconciled before pondering any other adjustment. Sleeves can be shortened, sides can be tapered. But the true index for whether or not a garment is for you is the way it fits the neck and shoulders. 
There’s very little that can be done to lower a collar or adjust shoulders. That’s where most of the handwork is manifest and where most of the customization has already occurred for the original owner. If the fit sucks in neck/shoulder land, the garment’s always gonna look kinda sucky. I’ve had enough clothes made for me over the last twenty years to know when something fits. And I’ll tell you that the shoulder/neck fit on this little Bobby from Boston ditty is as good as I’ve ever had.
Griffon amongst retail red. (sorry...I'm stuck on the retail red remains funny to me but I'm sure it will subside in another post or two) Now the Griffon escutcheon could mean a hundred things. The original owner could have been a member of “The Griffin/Griffon Club” or they could have been a veteran of one of the British Ranger battalions that use the Griffon as part of their iconographic manifestation. But I’ve debunked this one. It’s the logo for Elmer and Lurlene Griffin’s Auto Body. Elmer and Lurlene opened a bondo slathering, chicken wire and hay baling twine car put-back-together emporium years ago. In Pamplico South Carolina. Shut up.
My other rare foray from home so far this week saw me, even with the respiratory crud; manifest cabin fever so I drove out to the country and grabbed my usual supply of Crane Crest secret salad cologne.
And my hygiene holiday manifested in jeans, Red Wings and my LFG Patagonia thing. Red Wings. A real work boot and made in America. At least they were when I bought these in 1996 on King Street in Old Town. Back when a family owned work shoe—boot store remained in business. It’d been there for fifty years when I bought these. And of course they are long gone. Most everything now on King Street is a frou frou boutique of some sort butcept two wig shops. I want the wig shops to always be in Old Town. It reminds me of how dodgy upper King Street was in 1989. Canaries in the coal mine of gentrification…when the wig shops go; we’ll be 100% uppity. Upper King Street 1989…the antithesis of Lower Sloane Street in any decade.
 Someone emailed me and axked if the Patagonia top was as shockingly green in real life or had I enhanced the photo. Nope. It’s green. Fuzzy green.
My Restoration Hardware chair remains in Georgetown. I stopped by to check on it the other day.
Right after I bought pediatric Blunnies for my little buddy who I’ll see next week.
And the chair also remains in the Old Town location as well. And no I’m not gonna buy it. Six months from now, a half dozen of these will find their way to the Restoration Hardware Outlet in Leesburg. They’ll have a ding or two on them and they’ll have an adjusted MSRP of around nine hundred bucks. Just watch.
And so I’ll close this installment of superficialia with a couple of things. Is it just me or is Jennifer Beals looking more and more like the late Dixie Carter? I’d say that’s a compliment for either of them.
 Continued Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. This time from the junk man in Old Town.

Onward. En route to replenish my DayQuil/NyQuil cache.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

“Hey Mama…Let’s Get Daddy a Hat!”—Apparel Arts 1937

It’s no secret that JFK killed the hat business. If he didn't kill it, he certainly assaulted the hat wearing custom with blunt force trauma. And it never fully recovered. I shared with you that my father, in spite of JFK’s bare headed approach to most work weeks, never left the house without a hat.
But the three or four decades preceding JFK’s inauguration saw the hat as de rigueur and as necessary a coordinating consideration when suit buying as socks and neckwear was. Not surprisingly, Daddy was probably the recipient of hats as gifts on many occasions. Butcept my dad. Poor guy only received from me, for as many occasions as I can remember, one of two things…British Sterling cologne or more often than not, soap on a rope. 
No wonder he was fairly indifferent about Christmas Eve gift openings or Father’s Day morning surprises. It was the same damn thing every year from me…soap on a rope. Gotta love marketing and frankly, the indifference manifest in the eyes of daddies when they saw another cake of olfactory extruding tallow embedded with a looped length of Aunt Tootie’s knitting yarn.

But let’s get back to hats. By the time I started working in my town’s trad haberdashery, the hat business was all but over. Mr. C. still carried a modest inventory of hats, most from Dobbs but a few Stetsons as well. And hat selection was and is I suppose a very personal thing. I shudder to think about sending LFG or most women for that matter, out to buy me a tie. I’m thinking the same was the case with buying daddy a hat for Christmas.
Apparel Arts showcased a solution for retailers. Knowing that a nice hat would make daddy happy but even happier if he picked it out, Dobbs, Stetson and other hat makers settled on the gift certificate option. But not just any gift certificate…a miniature hatbox and hat that daddy could open on gift day. 
A piccolo maquette telling daddy that a hat was in store for him—in THE store for him, awaiting his perusal, approval and procurement. Clever no?
These little hat boxes and hats are routinely offered on eBay for fifteen to twenty bucks and almost always mis-characterized. “Salesmen sample hat with box” routinely headlines the eBay offering. While only catching the tail end of the hat salesman calling on the haberdashery era, I did witness the process. Dress hats, especially well made ones, can’t be offered for inventory consideration when presented in G.I. Joe miniature sizes. Hat salesmen lugged in examples of the real thing, in the real size, so that store owners and buyers could finger the genuine goods.
So daddy would open the little gift box and I suppose everyone would get a chuckle out of the miniature representation and then daddy a few days later would take the little certificate to the store for his topper.
And then of course, the shoe makers caught on as well.
But there were small scale salesman’s samples of other hats. In smaller sizes but not as attenuated as the little gift certificate contrivances. And the rationale for these smaller versions is a bit more obvious. Utilitarian straw toppers, sold mostly to farm co-ops, feed and seed and hardware stores didn’t need to be illuminated through full sized samples. Elegance need not be proven—utility; functionality and unit price were probably the buying criteria for the owner of the local feed and seed operation.
And this hat still intrigues and scares me. My father’s only brother—the one who did stay on the farm that’s been in our clan for over two hundred years, actually owned the local feed and seed/farm co-op. And I loved going in there as a little kid. In addition to all of the imaginable things that farmers would buy at a co-op, there were also offerings in my range. 
Cheap Barlow pocket knives that hung on a cardboard punch out stand. Just pull one off and pay the minimal freight and it was yours. And the drink box was an ice cold marvel as well. Six and a half ounce cokes were suspended therein by their necks. 
Drop your coins in and slide the drink to the left for drink box liberation and libation. Oh, but not till you poured a pack of Planters salted peanuts down the neck of your “baby Coke”.
And the straw hats hung on a line across the store too. None were small enough for my little crew cut head but I damn sure wanted one. But not just any one. I wanted the one that had the “sunglasses visor”.
That is until I saw the chain gang man with one on. Chain gangs in the late 1960’s south were probably as scary to a five year old kid as a carload of Klansmen was to anyone, black or white, old or young, in the 1950’s. The prisoners were literally chained together and they were wearing those striped uniforms. And my five year old eyes saw them. More than once.
I can see it as clearly today as I did back then. And the supervisor wore that hat. And he carried a shotgun and the whole damned troupe of prison labor lorded over by Mr. Sunglass Visor Straw Hat with his shotgun just terrified me.
My grandfather would try to explain that nobody was gonna hurt me. That Mr. Sunglass Visor Supervisor was only in my uncle’s store to get a crate of soft drinks for the prisoners and that his shotgun probably didn't even have shells in it. Mr. Sunglass Visor Supervisor was one of the good guys but he didn't act like it. His necessary “ok boys if you try to run, there won’t be enough time for you to feel the sudden tautness of your ankle chain ‘cause I’ll have buck shotted your ass by then” game face, I felt as a five year old, was meant for me too.
So if any of ya’lls cogitation or collaboration about what to ever get me—gift wise—includes as a candidate, the Sunglass Visor Straw Hat, please pass on it. I’ll be happy with soap-on-a-rope.


Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Christmas Aftermath and Trad Miscellany

It’s 533am in ADG land and not a creature is stirring ‘cause I’m the onliest creatsture (As Ernest T. Bass would pronounce it) in the house. And I’m rested at 533am because I fell asleep real early last night. 430am arrived early Christmas morning—not by design per se but I was gonna get up at 5 anyway.
Christmas eve and morning were great culminations of what was a harried two weeks leading up.  If you wanna more thorough rundown on the LFG/ADG Christmas tree, I refer you to last year’s post for an ornament, by ornament manifestation of our eclectirandoyulishness.
Wow, what a difference another blessed year makes and wow, how quickly this one blew by. Last year our tree was up by the typical 2.5 to 3 weeks before Christmas. This year LFG and I were lucky to get the thing up at all. We are no less manifest in Yule cheer but it’s just been maniacally busy for us all. As I think of it, the idea of not getting on a plane until January 6th is more comforting than most of you can probably understand. And yes, I repaired the “blowed up Saab”…only time will tell if rescinding my decision to “not put another penny in this thing” was a good one.
Our Old Angler’s Inn get together with LFG’s mom was so nice—in every way. I’ve said it to the point of redundancy…as long as we remain focused on what’s best for LFG; we are fine amidst these special occasion summits. Old Angler’s had a nice little menu for Christmas Eve and being our little princess, LFG was allowed to go off the menu and pounce on a cheeseburger.
The Santa visit manifested visual evidence that LFG is not a cuddly little baby anymore. Clothes and electronics pretty much did it for this gal. Her “big” gifts this year were a replacement pair of Uggs and the Nook reader from Barnes and Noble. Uggs need replacing a couple of times each year because they provoke, at least from my child, an odiferous funkorama that scares me.
And the Nook…LFG begged and begged for this thing—for months. I’ll still insist (we’ll see how that goes) that she read regular books but here’s my bottom line on e-books…If the vehicle will enhance my child’s already strong appetite for books; if this platform will synergize even slightly, her love affair with words then I’m all in.
I won’t personally relent till I get an iPad…which is inevitable. But I like owning my regular books. I revel in the therapeutic unguent that two hours in a used bookshop offers me. I love that cerebral sleight of hand I inflict upon myself when I rationalize the expenses associated with my used bookshop forays as well as my dangerously capricious Amazon One-Click impulsivity. I’ll have the Larry McMurtry autobiographical trilogy finished by tonight and I’ve concluded that McMurtry, sitting down in his Hay-on-Wye attempt called Archer City Texas, writes books and screenplays to finance his addiction to collecting books. Actual books…you know, the ones whose pages can be fingered and re-read and dog eared and whose tight spines, despite the admonishment of the ancient librarian Miss Duffeld, late of Royall Elementary school, can be hyper bent-back amidst the glue crackling, for better page turning. Well there you damn go. All the reason in the world that for me, e-books won’t ever completely replace the real thang.
So LFG got all jazzed up over her orange covered Nook and we scurried soon thereafter to the airport and a handoff to mommy.
Nothing sad or somber here. My little gal’s just not quite awake yet. And no I didn’t endanger either of us while snapping these little shots. The iPhone 4 offers a reverse mechanism for shooting pictures. You just hold it over your shoulder and click away. One’s bound to be a decent enough snap to make the blog cut. Leastways by my definition of decent. Shut the ____________.
Whew. Let’s talk togs and shoddings. One of my nicest little surprise gifts was a navy blue box from Ralph. One your fellow readers bestowed upon me two pairs of great Fair Isle socks for Christmas. Nice.
And thanks again M.O. for the socks. I wore a pair yesterday. With Alden shell cordovan tassels…colour #8.
Colour #8 is the classic Alden ox blood-burgundy tone that shell cordovan is mostly known for. But I gotta tell you, the Alden shell cordovan tassel classic in what Alden calls Cigar is a stunningly patinated contrivance. The evidence above is courtesy of Elegantologist…my buddy Chris from Easy and Elegant Life. Santa bought him at my urging, a pair of Cigar shell cordovan tassels. He wore ‘em all day yesterday. Who knows, the boy may be sleeping in them right now.
My week in shoes. Just the kind of random eclectasy that had it not manifested during a week of no travel, one should worry. My travel week in shoes is just the opposite…one pair. It’s a tactic that is crucial for me to manifest my no-checked-luggage strategy. And how did that strategy play out in 2010? Perfect actually. I checked a bag once…when I went to London last January. Sorry but I’ve said it before, in a fact positing way, not in a braggadocios crow, that it’s easier being a guy.
Braggadocios Crow…shit…I’ve gotta try my hand at writing a short story...if for no other reason than to use that name for a character. Braggadocios Crow…man…he’s either an Atticus Finch archetype or a farmer or a wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys.  
I’ve never tried my hand at fiction that I’ve declared up front to be so. This entire blog is a sham so that I suppose, is one version of fiction right there. But let me give Mr. Crow a shot at life. “Bragg Crow represented anyone in Prunella County who needed a lawyer. And more often than not he was paid with chickens and butter…or a desperate promise of money sure to come, now that the farm was vaguely out of foreclosure.” 
Or... “On Sundays Bragg Crow could always be found on the front pew, white dress shirt buttoned to the neck but awaiting the necktie that was not to be. Cleaning up for church was as important as being in church but a necktie always eluded Bragg Crow. Maybe if he wore one, the rain his crops so desperately needed—the rain he so anxiously mumbled for in prayer—might finally arrive, before it was once again, too late.”
Or… “Braggadocios DeLamante Crow was off the game day and the practice clock. The wide receiver was wide-ass open tonight but not in pads. Bling and champagne replaced tape and steroids as adornments for assuring victory. Tonight his three touchdown game would manifest in victory over one  LaShonda Veronique Scipio, head cheerleader for his team. Rules be damned, he and Ms. Scipio were hot tub bound and he’d just have to pay the thirty thousand dollar fine for cavorting with Shonda’nique’s pom-poms.”
Ok, I won’t quit my day job. Shut up. But look at these fuzzies! I found my way to the Conrad Hasselbach website courtesy of Laguna Beach Trad links and found this. This Prussian manifuzzstation of tasselocity. Hold me back.
But only after you release me long enough to consider taking vert title to these grün shoddings. Again, even though it’s the holidays. Shut up.
And finally, with all of the randomosity aside, what was the most enduring gift that you gave this season? My Christmas card from a long time friend in Houston exemplified giving in the truest sense. She has a friend who now has a renewed lease on life, courtesy of one of her kidneys. God bless you both.
Merry Christmas from the Royal East Kents Regiment.